Here is some basic information about the calculator before you download it. The calculator is intended ONLY for PERS retirees who retired between April 1, 2000 and March 1, 2004. Members who retired before April 1, 2000 are immune from any of the current legislation and litigation, while members who retired after March 1, 2004 have a different set of remedies applied to their pensions.
The calculator requires 8 pieces of information: year of retirement, month of retirement, initial benefit as it appears on the member's Notice of Entitlement (NOE), total account balance at the time of retirement (also on NOE), member's Regular account balance as of 12/31/1999 from the 1999 Member Account Statement, retiree's age in years on 7/1/07, beneficiary's age on 7/1/07, and the retirement option selected (the program works for Options 1, 2, 3, 2A, and 3A). The Option selected determines whether beneficiary age is requested. No other information is sought; no other information is used. From these pieces of information, the program will reconstruct the 1999 earnings as if the crediting had been 11.33% instead of 20%, will compound the adjusted balance forward to the date of retirement, refigure the initial benefit using the new, lower account balance, and determine how much the member has been overpaid since retirement because of the 20% crediting. It also provides the COLA adjustments to the revised initial balance through to 7/1/07. It reports the total amount of overcrediting, the reduction (or increase) in benefits as of 7/1/07, and the annual amount of overcrediting. NOTE PLEASE: The program uses COLA years, NOT calendar years for the overcrediting. Since COLA adjustments take place annually on July 1, it makes the best programming sense to think of the "year" as running from 7/1/xx to 6/30/xy, instead of the calendar year.
The program does NOT take the following into account:
1. Adjustments to benefits resulting from a variable annuity remaining at retirement.
2. Purchases of service time, military time, or other forms of purchases (this information is reflected in the account balance shown on the Notice of Entitlement and is not solicited separately. It is also known that some discrepancies in final payback amounts can be affected by this information. There is nothing I can do about it).
3. The "lookback" or any issues concerning crediting for 2003 via Strunk.
4. People who had the one-time variable transfer occur before retirement. (The program has no way to adjust "on the fly" to a variable account that vanishes before retirement but after the 1999 earnings were credited). There are a couple of ways to finesse an estimate, but require some hand calculation. If you are willing to do these calculations, the program will give you a reasonable estimate of the reduction, but little else in the output will be accurate -- it might be close, but I wouldn't stake my reputation on it.)
The program is written in ISO/ANSI C++ and runs in a Console Window under versions of Windows from Win2000 to WinXP and Mac OSX (tested under 10.3 and 10.4; not with earlier versions). I know for a fact that the program WILL NOT run on Macs that aren't running OS X and versions of OS X before 10.3 are not guaranteed.Operating notes:
1. Download the program to your WINDOWS or your MAC desktop. (it makes life much easier for you if you are unfamiliar with console based programs). If not, download the program to some directory that you can remember. You'll need to know this to run the program and to find the output file. Running the program itself requires no more effort than either double-clicking the icon placed on your desktop, or double-clicking the program icon from inside Windows Explorer (the same is true with OS X, except use Finder). [If you are using OS X on a Mac, you may discover that the file "StrunkEugene.txt" is NOT left on the desktop. If, after running the program, you can't seem to find it, look in your "home" directory - use finder and choose "Home" as the directory. You'll see the file there].
2. When the program says "press any key to continue", it means to literally press ONE key, not TWO keys (e.g. the "a" followed by the "enter" key). If you press TWO keys, the second key will be cached until the next time the program asks you the "press any key", but you won't be given the chance to press the key because there is already a key in the buffer. This problem *should* be fixed. Please let me know if it isn't.
3. Current issues and limitations: This version is crude by my programming standards. The program checks for virtually no errors, although it may annoy you when you enter an age outside of the program's internal limits (50 - 80). If you enter a character when a number is required, the program will simply crash. I made a conscious decision to release the program early at the expense of error checking. If the program crashes, run it again and pay attention to what you enter. The program WILL NOT save you from yourself. At some point, when I know whether the program will even be necessary (the courts finally decide something), I'll deal with the error checking. Error checking is the most tedious and boring part of programming. The programmer has to anticipate every possible combination of letters and numbers a user could possibly enter and reject those that don't meet the programming requirements. It consists of a lot of "if" statements and lots of "looping", programming constructs that are vitally important but really easy to foul up, even for the best programmer. So, just bear with the construction now and get used to the program's bad behavior when you are naughty and don't enter the data precisely the way the program expects. A word of advice: the program wants numbers, not letters. The only exception is the decimal point and, possibly, the minus sign. Anything else is considered a non-numeric character. Don't enter them.
Another issue that IS being addressed is that the program doesn't work with some age combinations. The internal limits right now permit the retiree and the beneficiary to be NO MORE than 15 years different in age. The final version will permit this to be 30 years. So even though the program accepts retiree and beneficiary ages in the range of 50 to 80 years, the age difference must be less than 16 years. If not, the program will behave unpredictably. I am aware of this and will have a version that solves this problem by next late next week. [Note: 11/2/06. I've been diverted from this to other matters right now. Since I've gotten no complaints or urgent requests to implement this, I've put it on hold for awhile. I have no estimated completion date. If this is critical to you, drop me an email and I will add you to the list of people for whom the current limitation is problematic. When I get enough of these, I will find the time to amend the source code and add the necessary actuarial factors].
Bugs and errors: if you KNOW (and can confirm) you entered data in the correct format *and* you've noted the issues discussed above and still have problems, please let me know. Be prepared to describe what you think is wrong and also be willing to share ALL the data you entered into the program. I am unable to fix any bug if I can't replicate it. It almost always requires you to share your information with me. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, don't bother to report the bug because it just annoys me and I can't do anything about it. Send bug reports and other issues to me: feldesmanm at pdx dot edu (please replace the words with the appropriate symbols. I don't need any more spam than I get now). (for OSX users: the link below is to a dmg - disk image file called StrunkEugene.dmg. It contains the program 'Lipscomb' which does the calculations. The dmg file will download to your desktop. Double-click on the 'StrunkEugene.dmg' icon. It will quickly mount a disk called "StrunkEugene". You can find the program file by clicking on the disk icon. Drag the program from the 'image' to the desktop and run it from there by clicking on the 'Lipscomb application' icon -- a grey slate terminal).Download Current Windows Version - Release Candidate 1.0.1P (10/19/06)
Download Current Version - Mac (OS X 10.3 or higher) Release Candidate 1.0.1P (10/19/06)